May 19, 2011

St Mary's University College

Janine Griffiths-Baker

A legal scholar who has "always had a sense of justice" has been named the new deputy principal at St Mary's University College, Twickenham. Janine Griffiths-Baker studied for her undergraduate degree at Cardiff University, and said that she switched to law after originally deciding to read Classics. "From a very young age I've always wanted to promote people's rights to make sure everybody has an equal opportunity and a fair chance," she said. "A career in law seemed natural." She then moved to the University of Bristol, where she gained her postgraduate and doctoral qualifications. Professor Griffiths-Baker remained at Bristol and became lecturer, then senior lecturer, in the School of Law before being appointed director of undergraduate studies. She was then appointed head of law at the University of Bedfordshire, and was most recently associate dean of the business faculty. She previously edited the journal Legal Ethics and now sits on the advisory board. Professor Griffiths-Baker said that, despite taking a vocational degree, she was never tempted to move into industry. "I really enjoy teaching and fostering education in students," she said. "I also enjoy the challenge of research and the collegiate environment that a university has."

University of Salford

George Baxter

George Baxter is hoping to use his considerable experience in the private sector to improve enterprise and innovation for staff and students at the University of Salford. Dr Baxter, who has been appointed professor of enterprise and innovation at the institution, originally studied chemistry to PhD level at the University of Glasgow and joined ICI in a commercial role after achieving a doctorate. Working in sales and marketing, Dr Baxter took on business management roles before joining biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as Far East business manager for the inkjet printing business. He then became part of the management team that bought the business from AstraZeneca to form Avecia. In 2003, Dr Baxter joined the North West Development Agency and is currently its director of science and innovation. He said that the role would help him to make the "transition" between the private and public sector. "I've done a huge amount of work with universities over the last eight years and that really got me interested in the sector," he said. "So when the chance came to actually work in the same area I'm in, but in the higher education sector, it was too good an opportunity to pass up on."

University of Toronto

Milica Radisic

A chemist named as a "scientist to watch" by The Scientist magazine has won an award for her work in mending broken hearts. Milica Radisic, associate professor at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at the University of Toronto, has been awarded a Connaught Innovation Award by the institution to further her work in "regenerating hearts". The Connaught Fund makes awards to the researchers whose work has the potential to "bring significant bene-fit to society". Professor Radisic studied for an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at McMaster University before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to work in the lab of noted chemical and biomedical engineer Robert Langer. She joined the faculty at Toronto in 2005. Although regeneration may be a concept more associated with Dr Who than humans at present, Professor Radisic said that she believes such an advance could be more than science fiction sooner rather than later. She pointed to such advances as skin transplants as the forerunner of research that could lead to regenerating hearts becoming science fact. "Science continues to amaze me," she said. "This is reachable in our lifetime."

Michigan State University

Robert LaDuca

Robert LaDuca, professor of chemistry at Michigan State University, has been awarded one of four Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year awards from the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. Professor LaDuca won the award for his creation of a "fun, enthusiastic and interactive environment for intense scientific development and inquiry in chemistry". He studied for his undergraduate degree at Yale University before moving to Cornell University to complete a master's and a doctorate in chemistry. He then moved to Syracuse University to become a postdoctoral Fellow before going to King's College in Pennsylvania as an assistant professor. Professor LaDuca became associate professor at King's College before being appointed to his current role at Michigan State in 2004. In addition to his achievements in chemistry, Professor LaDuca describes himself as an "avid listener" of progressive rock music and is credited as the co-founder of NEARfest, which is the largest music festival for the genre in the US. He said he was "very honoured" to receive the award, adding that he was particularly glad that his "passion for chemistry has inspired students in the classroom and research lab".

Other changes

David Smith has joined Canterbury Christ Church University as pro vice-chancellor in charge of external relations. He was previously senior account director at the Skills Funding Agency South East. Canterbury has also appointed Kerry Jordan-Daus head of primary education. She is currently the programme director for the Graduate Teacher Programme.

Laurie Maguire, professor of English and tutorial Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and author of Shakespeare's Names, has been appointed a trustee of the Globe Theatre.

The University of Southampton has appointed Tessa Harrison its registrar. She is currently academic registrar and clerk to governors at the University of the West of England.

Mark Cannell, chair in cardiac cell biology at the University of Bristol, has received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

The University of Abertay Dundee has appointed Simeon Keates head of its School of Computing and Engineering Systems. He was formerly associate professor in the Innovative Communication Research Group at the IT University of Copenhagen.

William James, professor of virology, Fellow of Brasenose College and James Martin Fellow, is to become the University of Oxford's pro vice-chancellor for planning and resources.

Aston University has officially installed Sir John Sunderland, former chief executive officer of Cadbury Schweppes, as its new chancellor.

Wendel Sebastian, senior lecturer in the department of civil engineering at the University of Bristol, has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust senior research Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

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